Montclair Council Discusses Increased Funding for Homeless Shelters, Traffic Safety Measures and Minority Vendor Inclusion

In a recent Montclair Town Council meeting, issues were discussed including increased funding for the Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH) program, traffic safety measures, and the inclusion of minority vendors in municipal contracts. The council also pledged to recognize November 2023 as Transgender Awareness Month, and deliberated on amendments to the town’s speed limits and tree ordinance.

The discussion began with an appeal from MESH representatives for increased funding for the homeless shelter program, particularly as cold weather poses an increased risk. The request came in response to a growing need for shelter, especially among young mothers and children. Councilman David Cummings requested a detailed budget proposal from the organization, while Mayor Sean Spiller confirmed that the county was offering up to $40,000 in assistance. Further discussions on the funding proposal are scheduled for December.

Traffic safety was another issue of concern, with multiple residents advocating for safer streets for children. Caitlyn Brook, a co-founder of the Montclair bike bus, and Dr. Thorp, a local teacher, highlighted the need for lower speed limits and increased driver accountability. The council acknowledged the importance of these initiatives, while also noting the challenges such as county regulations and responsibilities for snow plowing.

Councilwoman Lori Price Abrams raised concerns about the town’s tree ordinance and the impact of tree removal on the environment and the community. She urged the council to protect trees and criticized the current ordinance which allows a paid arborist to decide which trees should be removed. Mayor Spiller commended Lori’s efforts and suggested she engage with the environmental commission to further influence the tree ordinance.

The council also addressed the need for increased minority vendor inclusion in the town’s contracts. Councilwoman Price Abrams emphasized that at least 20% of contracts should go to minority vendors. The council agreed to gather more information on this matter to ensure fairness in the distribution of contracts.

The meeting also saw the council discussing plans to lower the speed limit to 25 mph on all municipal roads and requesting the county to do the same on county roads. Councilman Cummings suggested a further reduced limit on a section of Upper Mountain Avenue, a proposal that was put on hold pending further discussion.

The council unanimously approved a proclamation to recognize November 2023 as Transgender Awareness Month. The proclamation aims to increase awareness and support for the transgender and nonbinary community in Montclair.

The council also deliberated on the procedures for public sign-ups for council meetings and agreed to discuss it further. The proposal was to implement a time limit for public sign-ups to prevent latecomers from extending the meeting unnecessarily.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Sean Spiller
City Council Officials:
Robert J. Russo, William L. Hurlock, Roger Terry, Robin Schlager, Lori Price Abrams, David Cummings

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